HK has unique role in ‘dual-circulation’ plan

Hong Kong, the gateway to the Chinese mainland, is poised to play a unique role in the nation’s “dual-circulation” economic mode, the city’s top officials and business leaders said on Sunday, a day after the city’s leader concluded her five-day visit to the mainland to garner support for the city’s hard-hammered economy.

That objective has been mapped out for Hong Kong in proposals for the central government’s latest five-year plan, with the city tasked to bolster this “gateway” role through interaction with other countries and regions, and mainland cities.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in a China Central Television interview that Hong Kong could give full play to its unique edge as gateway when it becomes involved in this new economic pattern.

The dual-circulation model, which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while allowing domestic and foreign markets boost each other, is a strategy floated by China’s top leadership amid increasing unilateralism and protectionism in global trade.

During her support-canvassing visit to Beijing, followed by meeting top officials in Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province, Lam met with central government ministries in charge of technology, commerce, aviation, health, development and securities regulation.

Lam said the central government has pledged full support for Hong Kong’s involvement in the nation’s development plan.

Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, vice-president of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ and Exporters’ Association, said the “one country, two systems” principle has bestowed unique strengths on the city, such as zero to low tariffs on goods imported by the Chinese mainland and freely convertible Hong Kong dollars. “The city is well positioned as a ‘super-connector’ between the mainland and the rest of the world,” Wong said.

Citing a report published by Census and Statistics Department in June 2020, Wong pointed out that Hong Kong’s total merchandise exports to Chinese mainland in 2019 account for 55.4 percent. “This is evidence that Hong Kong can count on the nation’s domestic market to revitalize our economy,” he said.

Wong added that with the preferential policies backed by the central government, he envisioned that cross-border e-commerce possesses immense potential for Hong Kong companies in the mainland’s domestic market.

Hong Kong’s exhibitors are pinning their hopes on the mainland market, and Hong Kong’s longstanding edge in financial services has earned the heart of many mainland enterprises.

A record 240 Hong Kong exhibitors-20 percent more than last year-signed up for this year’s CIIE in Shanghai.

Participating in the expo, Juliet Zhou, general manager of accounting firm Roger Kam& Co, recalled her busy week meeting many coming from Shandong, Hubei, Zhejiang and even Shaanxi for their consulting services.

“They are particularly interested in global trade, e-commerce, as well as patent registration,” Zhou said. “Some of them even bought office space in the city and are ready to come to Hong Kong once the travel restriction is lifted.”

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po thinks Hong Kong has a strong presence in five key aspects-facilitating further renminbi internationalization, contributing in financial risk management, serving as an international capital raising platform for mainland enterprises, a safe haven for investment and a green financial center in the Bay Area.

Eyeing China’s paradigm shift in its domestic market, Lam will depart for Macao on Monday afternoon for the opening ceremony of the First Conference of the International Science, Technology and Innovation Forum of the Boao Forum for Asia, where she will deliver a speech.

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